Gordon McIvor is the vice-president, strategic acquisitions, Public and Government Affairs, Canada Lands Company.
This is the text of his opinion piece, which ran in the Guardian on March 26, 2007:
Upton Farm: it’ll offer
enjoyable public green space
By Gordon McIvor
Canada Lands Company CLC Limited (CLC) would like to take the opportunity to respond to recent letters to the editor concerning the development of the Upton Farm.
Before discussing the particular details of the planned development, there has been reference made to the process by which CLC received its approvals including a reference to a “fast track approach”. This was indeed not the case. CLC acquired this property in 2001 at which time CLC met with various city and provincial officials as well as stakeholder groups to outline CLC’s development process and discuss possible land uses.
CLC continued with its development activities for the next three years. This included undertaking a design charette to create several visions for the property. These visions were presented to the public in 2003 at two open houses where CLC received valued input from the public. Notices for these open houses were advertised in The Guardian and were open to all members of the public. During the balance of 2003 and 2004, these visions were also presented to a wide range of stakeholders with further public input received.
CLC then took an additional step of creating the Upton Advisory Group, which was comprised of six individuals from the community, with three being residents from adjacent neighbourhoods, along with one individual from CLC. This group met on a regular basis in 2004 and 2005 and formed eight “guiding principles” for the Upton Farm development. The principles were used by CLC and its planners to develop a master plan for the property. This plan was presented to the public at two open houses, both of which were advertised in The Guardian. The plan was then submitted to the city on March 8, 2006, with a public meeting hosted by the city on April 5, 2006, with a follow-up public meeting June 15, 2006.
The public meetings were well attended with strong representation made from the public. At no time was there discussion on stopping the development to keep it as an open space. Subsequently, the plan was approved by city council on July 10, 2006. Further to all of the open houses and public meetings, CLC has had an open-door policy by which any member of the public was welcome to come to our offices and discuss the planning work underway.
Recently, there have been concerns regarding the development of the Upton Farm as presented in letters to the editor regarding the green/open space. CLC has made this a priority in its planning from the outset. To this end, CLC’s plan includes a significant number of features:
– A significant public space along the entirety of CLC property along the North River. This space which will be developed into a walking trail is 23 metres wide and will connect to the city’s trail system found on the adjacent Beach Grove property.
– A green gateway park on both sides of the Trans-Canada Highway signifying and enhancing the entrance to the City of Charlottetown.
– A neighbourhood public square patterned after the four public squares that are found in the city. This square will be used for a variety of passive recreational and cultural events.
– Protection of the existing ecosystem in particular the hedgerow and tree stand clusters found on the property.
With the above noted features, which all surpass the city’s green space requirements, CLC strongly believes that when the development is complete, the Upton Farm will have some of the most enjoyable, well-designed and used public green space in Charlottetown.
The City of Charlottetown has a plan for the orderly development of the community as a whole. This involves looking ahead at not only park space but also land development.
CLC believes that the approved plan will follow the successful developments that CLC has created across the country, which provide for sustainable development, environmental stewardship, and a quality of lifestyle opportunity. In closing, CLC’s door is always open and I would encourage any interested citizen to drop by and view and discuss the plans for the property.
Gordon Mclvor is vice president, strategic acquisitions, Public and Government Affairs, Canada Lands